October 03, 2011
| by Grant Clauser
How cool would be the power to open your garage door wirelessly?
What, you can already do that? Oh, yes, garage door remotes and openers are so common you get them from Sears. But now Sears is offering a Craftsman garage door opener that operates with an app for your smartphone or tablet (or computer).
So now instead of pressing that remote button under your driver side visor, you just have to reach into your pocket or purse, wake up the phone, locate the app, press the app icon to launch it and press the appropriate button to open the garage door, all before you’ve driven through it.
OK, so maybe I’m oversimplifying it a bit. Here’s what the new products are really all about.
Craftsman is launching two new garage door openers that incorporate AssureLink Gateway technology which allows users to monitor and operate their garage doors remotely via a mobile device or web-connected computer.
The AssureLink Gateway, included with the openers, must be connected to the Internet via an Ethernet cable (it might need to be a very long Ethernet cable). The user then downloads the app to their iOS or Android which allows monitor or the door status or remote operation. Use of the feature is free for the first two years, but after that a $20 annual fee kicks in.
So what’s the purpose? Being a slightly paranoid person, there are plenty of times I’ve left the house and wondered if I remembered to close the garage door. Almost every night I end up getting out of bed to check the door (because I’ve left it open all night before, and my wife likes to remind me of that). What about letting delivery people into the garage without giving them your keypad code?
I’d like to see Craftsman take this a little further and integrate a camera so you can see who’s actually entering the garage when you open it. Maybe Craftsman sould also incorporate an alert system in case the door opens when it’s not been authorized to do so? There should also be a remote lock so you can disable other users’ apps—in case you want to lock your husband out of the house for the night for making wisecracks in his blog.
The openers start at $275 (for the chain drive version). More info on the products can be found here.
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.